From Goa, a tropical area on the southern coast of India where coco palms are plentiful and fresh seafood abundant, comes this fish stew flavored with hot peppers, lemon juice and coconut milk. Goans use a local flatfish called pomfret, similar to our sole, and serve the stew with plenty of rice. If you've never tried Goan cuisine, this is the place to start. The stew is delectable.
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2 pounds sole fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 cloves garlic, smashed
4 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
4 jalapeño peppers, seeds and ribs removed, minced
3/4 cup water
How to Make It
In a glass or stainless-steel container, combine the sole, lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Let marinate at least 10 minutes.
In a blender, puree the garlic and ginger with the coconut milk, coriander, cumin, brown sugar, black pepper, turmeric, and cayenne.
In a large saucepan, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the coconut mixture, the jalapeños, the water, and the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and bring slowly almost to a simmer, stirring frequently.
Add the fish and 1 tablespoon of the marinade. Bring to a simmer and continue simmering until the fish is just done, 1 to 2 minutes.
The spiciness and creaminess of this stew will be best accompanied by either beer or a bottle of acidic white wine with enough flavor to stand up to the coconut milk and heat. Try a Vouvray or other wine made from Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley in France.
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